Lomography Film Roll: One

March 31, 2010

My lovely girlfriend introduced me to the joys of Lomography a couple of months ago. Since then, it has reignited my love of Photography and gave me a reason to start it up again.

I bought a Diana Mini and a couple of redscale iso100 films, and got snapping.

These are my favourite photos from my first roll of film. The second roll of film, which I had developed today, will be uploaded tomorrow.


The Abstraction

March 31, 2010

Around the year of Muhammad’s birth, the Arabians within the central penninsula were actively resisting the Byzantines and the Persians, and in fact organised religion and empire in general. They did not however, escape the pull and the “meaning” that comes with abstract concepts invented by humanity, plaguing the West at the time. The Arabians instead practiced the concept of “Muruwwah”. This idea stressed the importance of courage and patience, endurance and honour. It kept the tribes going. It was a concept that penetrated every aspect of their lives. They were taught that society would fall apart without it. And yet, when logic prevails, Muruwwah doesn’t actually exist. It’s a subjective man made concept.

Man has always confined itself to abstractions. The problem with abstractions, and in particular abstract philosophies and concepts, is that whilst they attempt to provide dogmatic objectivity, they are by nature, massively subjective.

Humans have always placed an unattainable goal ahead of us, a goal that throughout our lives sucks up our hopes, our desires, our dreams, our human decency, like a sponge. The concept of Heaven, which is largely derived from the concept of an eternal World of Plato and other Greeks, tells us that this life is going to be a bit of a disappointment, but your dreams are going to come true in Heaven. Heaven acts as a sponge for positivity whilst the World we live in is a reflection of negativity. There is no Capitalism in heaven. There is no poverty in heaven. There is no climate change in heaven. And yet, the majority of us do not care to see our fantasy of a Heavenly World reflected on Earth. Why is that? Heaven is a man made fantasy ideal, and yet we place it in a box labelled “other“.

The Nation State is a product of colonialism. The Europeans carved up Africa into Nation States as a way of control. We could control the labour force, we could control slavery, we could control information, we could control the movement of capital. Nation borders are meaningless. They always have been. They are meaningless, because they exist in the collective mind of humanity only. The Nation State did not exist before humanity, it did not exist for the majority of the time humanity has been on the planet, it will not exist after humanity, and it does not exist to anything else other than humanity. And so therefore, it is meaningless, because it doesn’t exist. Like organised religion, the Nation State was used as a method of control by humanity over humanity.

As Capitalism took hold, Nation States no longer had the control over labour, slavery and capital that they once had. Nation States are entirely at odds with Capitalism. In fact, Nation States only really work when an economy is entirely protectionist, and Empires exist. Nation States were never about race, or identity, or culture, or anything of the sort. They have always been about control. Control previously lay at the feet of the Monarch. The State, was the Monarchy. Man and State were the same thing.
Israeli historian Martin Van Creveld says:

“What made the state unique was that it replaced the ruler with an abstract, anonymous, mechanism.”

Nationalism by logic then, is less than 500 years old. Racism grew with colonialism, and whilst the cancer of racism has largely been destroyed, remnants still remain and people are still quite unapologetically racist, with no actual reasons for their racism. Nationalism is an “other”. It is something we think is larger than ourselves, it is largely pathological because before human beings, and after human beings, England will not exist. A land mass that we once inhabited will exist. But England, and it’s abstractions that work simply to disassociate ourselves with the rest of humanity in the same way as Christianity and Islam and America and Pakistan and sexuality does.

Corporations today have more rules, more regulations, more limits on information, labour and capital than any Nation has. Corporations and their laws are just as abstract and nonsensical as Nation States. Corporations are the modern day Nation States. You all look a certain way, talk a certain way, waste your life trying to obtain this subjective and abstract concept of “success”. We are now governed by Capitalism or a form thereof. It tells us if we work hard enough, we can achieve anything we wish. But that simply isn’t true. Capitalism is the dome that we are living under, and it’s promise of ‘everything’ is in the same box as Heaven…. “other”. It is religion.

Catholicism, Protestantism, Capitalism, Democracy, Fascism, Communism, Materialism; they are do not exist. They are ideals that soak up hopes and dreams and say “YOU CAN HAVE THEM IF YOU……. work hard enough/are white/keep buying shit you don’t need/own nothing because the State owns it for your benefit………. but eventually you’ll be the perfect happiness.” They are the “other“. The concept of Heaven is very similar. The concept of Plato’s eternal realm is very similar. Abstractions that don’t actually exist in anything other than man’s mind, are used to control man. The men who create these concepts have created them for the purpose of control. Feudalism was a system of control. Capitalism is not much different. There are still Lords who suck up the majority of the wealth at the behest of the many. The U.S Constitution protects a certain class of person. The USSR protected a certain class of person. Whether or not it was designed with that specific goal in mind is debatable, but perhaps subconsciously a certain class of people always assume they are best placed to rule.

The Catholic Church was set up to spread the word of Jesus, yet ended up being perhaps one of the wealthiest institutions on the planet. In the 16th Century, instead of helping the poor that Christianity swears to do, the Catholic Church took money off of the poor, to finance St Peters. They found ridiculous ways to justify the selling of indulgences because the abstract concept they were attempting to spread, which they had inevitably corrupted, demanded obedience, even though the entire doctrine was based on conjecture, dodgy history and man made abstractions.

Catholicism created a culture of idol worship with the creation of Saints. We in the modern era have took that idol worship that the Bible strictly forbids, and our new idols are National pride, pop stars, sports stars, TV presenters, authors. They are also in the realm of “other“. Their public success is largely fatuous, worthless, and offers very little in the sense of the progress of humanity, but they’re worshipped as idols. We salute a flag that we invented, We wear the clothes that the stars wear, we recite their words, we want our bodies to look like theirs, we concentrate far too much energy on being like them, than being like ourselves. Why is that? Is that natural? Perhaps so. Humans have always created an abstraction that we place above ourselves, perhaps because we cannot cope with the notion that we as a species are the height of intelligence. And yet, we are. We created God. We created Nations. We created all other abstractions, the very same abstractions that today hold us all back and group us together into ridiculous categories.

To break away from these abstractions, and concentrate on reality, is in a sense Anarchism. Libertarianism evolves from the idea that we must break away from abstractions, and whilst I think Libertarianism goes too far to the right, I understand it’s principles. But then Anarchism itself, is dogmatic, and an abstraction……and…………… ARGGGH!!!! I don’t know how to end this blog.


Elizabeth I

March 24, 2010

Four hundred and seven years ago today, Elizabeth I of England died, and was replaced by James VI of Scotland, who became James I of England and Scotland.

I studied the early reign of Elizabeth I, her religious policies, her use of council, and her relationship with Europe but I only really started to sit up and take full notice of her reign, when I read “Elizabeth” by David Starkey. A biography of the Elizabeth from her birth, to her coming to the throne. I have since read it twice more, it is a great read and supremely recommended.

Elizabeth, in my opinion, was the greatest monarch this Country has even seen. She reigned at a time when the country had spent the past 150 years in turmoil. The disastrous period of the wars of the roses, followed by the horrendous upheaval of Henry VIII and Edward VI’s attack on Catholicism, Mary’s attacks on Protestantism meant that England was at boiling point. Elizabeth created stability and prosperity, a sense of brotherhood, that did not exist prior to her reign. This relentless panic to produce an heir, plagued the Monarchy from Henry VIII, through to Mary, and the power hungry obsessiveness of the Seymour family after Henry died, needed to come to an end. I’d recommend reading “Edward VI: The Lost King of England” by Chris Skidmore for a detailed analysis of Edward’s reign. It’s a great read. The Seymore brothers, and Thomas in particular have become my favourite characters from Tudor history, since reading that book.

As a child, Elizabeth was brilliant. She was taught Latin, French, Philosophy, History, Maths and Greek from an early age, and according to her teacher, Roger Asham (one of the most formidable scholars of the day), she was one of the best and brightest students he’d ever taught.

I think perhaps Catherine Parr, last wife of Henry, gets overlooked in her significant role as step mother to Elizabeth. Starkey points out that:

“Catherine, in short, was running a Tudor Open University course in religion at Henry’s Court. Elizabeth was certainly a receptive student. We can imagine her listening, intent, and white faced, to the lectures in the Queen’s privy chamber. In religion at least, Elizabeth was the student, and Catherine was the tutor”.

This suggests that the religious turmoil that came to an end with the religious settlement that Elizabeth ingeniously put in place during her reign, can be traced back to her education under Catherine Parr.

Elizabether seems to embody Niccolo Machiavelli’s statement that a Renaissance ruler should strive to be both loved and feared. Machiavelli saw this as a bit of a Utopia; unachievable, and so he goes on to point out that whilst one cannot be both loved and feared, one should strive to simply be feared. This position has been rather manipulated over the years.

Elizabeth, as a woman, was expected to marry. As the daughter of the King, she was expected to marry a rich noble perhaps of foreign descent, whom would then rule England, and she would take a merely ceremonial position. She refused. She wanted to rule. During her early life, she had lost her mum, two step mums and another step mum was gone. She had witnessed the 16 year old Jane Grey become the pawn in a game of power between her young brother’s protectors, and the power hungry Grey family, that resulted in Lady Jane’s beheading at only 16 years old. All because of Royal marriage. She knew how Royal women get treated. And given the pain of the previous Tudor monarchs (although, Edward was far too young to have much influence, it could be argued that his reign, was the reign of Somerset and Northumberland), it was a miracle that she managed to achieve what she did. An acceptable religious settlement in 1559 that put to rest the problems between the Catholics and Protestants who’d spent the past thirty years at war throughout Europe. Although, it may be said that it was far more Protestant than Catholic, given that Pope Pius excommunicated her for it. But still, it was an acceptable religious settlement for most of the Country, and so she was loved for it.

She established close relations with the Russians and the Ottomans, effectively attempting to explore the World further than ever before. She even considered an alliance with the Muslim world, because she, like they, believed they were both under threat from the Catholic Church at the time. She oversaw the first English expedition to Japan also. The theatre flourished, English culture had witnessed a golden age because of a Queen who seemed far less narcissistic and power hungry than her predecessors.

She became feared across the known World, after the ruthlessly powerful Philip of Spain (ex-husband of the now dead Queen Mary of England, and so brother in law of Elizabeth, and staunch Catholic) attempted again to overthrow his sister-in-law because he believed he should be the true ruler of England, and reunite the Country with Rome. Philip, and Spain, lost. We won. Howard and Drake are largely unknown as military geniuses, but in my opinion, for their defeat of the Spanish Armada, they’re the best Britain has ever seen.

“Nevertheless a prince ought to inspire fear in such a way that, if he does not win love, he avoids hatred; because he can endure very well being feared whilst he is not hated.”

Here, Machiavelli describes how a feared leader, must not cross the line into a hated leader. It can be supposed that Machiavelli’s contemporary, and ruler of Florence, Giovanni de’ Medici, was hated. Supremely hated in fact. He had destroyed the Florentine Republic and the liberties upon which it stood. Giovanni become Pope Leo X in 1513, and was so hated, that an entirely new sect of Christianity (Protestantism) arose because of widespread disillusionment with the Catholic Church, on Leo’s watch. Perhaps Machiavelli was describing, subtly, the inadequacies of the Medici, in his writing. He goes on to describe how a ruler should not be cruel.

Elizabeth was neither hated nor cruel. She could so easily have been dismissed as the daughter of an adulterous mother who almost tore England apart. But she escaped that, owing to her own ingenuity in never mentioning her mother’s name in public. No doubt Elizabeth was influenced by the Protestant World she had been brought up around; if she had, she kept it to herself. Her father and her sister were cruel, and history has judged them to be tyrants. Elizabeth however, never crossed that line. She remained in power for close to fifty years, and was loved throughout. There has been no Monarch before her, or since, that has commanded that sort of respect and admiration.

Elizabeth I, who died on this day, 407 years ago, is the closest any ruler across the World, since her day, has come to being the Machiavelli Utopian ruler.


Historical healthcare

March 22, 2010

Our policy is to create a national health service in order to ensure that everybody in the country, irrespective of means, age, sex, or occupation, shall have equal opportunities to benefit from the best and most up-to-date medical and allied services available.
Winston Churchill

OH MY GOD Churchill was a communist!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Or not. Actually, definitely not. Unless you’re a conservative American. If Obama had said what Churchill said, Glenn Beck’s head would have exploded live on TV.

Historic day for America. Obama’s healthcare plan passed. Which means more than 30,000,000 more Americans will be insured; insurance companies will no longer be able to oppressively discriminate on any basis, and best of all; Republican and conservative Americans hate it. They seem unable to differentiate between slightly left of centre beneficial policies, and Stalinist Communism.
Obama was absolutely correct when he subtly digged at the Republicans for their appalling use of fear tactics to attempt to win this argument. They should be ashamed of themselves. They, in my eyes, are comparable to those who opposed the Civil Rights Act in ’64.
Obama said:

“We didn’t give in to mistrust or to cynicism or to fear. Instead, we proved that we are still a people capable of doing big things.”

Whilst the Republicans continue to complain about the evils of Socialist medical care, I thought i’d sing it’s praises.
We in the UK have a National Health Service. It is a single payer system. It is government run. It would, in short, make Glenn Beck’s face explode in rage.
According to the World Health Organisation:

  • The UK’s EVIL SOCIALIST life expectancy (m/f):77/81
  • The US’s free market haven life expectancy(m/f): 75/80
  • The UK’s EVIL SOCIALIST Probability of dying under five (per 1 000 live births): 6
  • The US’s free market haven Probability of dying under five (per 1 000 live births): 8
  • The UK’s EVIL SOCIALIST Probability of dying between 15 and 60 years m/f (per 1 000 population): 98/61
  • The US’s free market haven Probability of dying between 15 and 60 years m/f (per 1 000 population): 137/80
  • The UK’s EVIL SOCIALIST overall World Health standing:18th
  • The US’s free market haven overall standing:36th

    In short, whilst Republicans keep complaining about how awful Socialist medicine is……… we in the UK will continue to enjoy it, whilst living longer.

    For a World superpower that basis itself on freedom, I’m not sure how they can justify being so terrible in the healthcare rankings. The US even ranks below Singapore for infant mortality. That’s appalling. But, apparently allowing more children to die than 35 other countries, is far more Constitutional (as is sending the living children to war on the basis of a lie, when they’re older), than giving them a better healthcare program safety net. In fact, half of all personal bankruptcies in the USA are believed to be partly the result of ridiculously extortionate healthcare costs.

    Republicans and the Tea Party movement is simply a movement to protect the profits of American insurance companies. To fight against a bill that prevents insurance companies from turning down insurance for patients with pre-existing conditions, and cancelling insurance when people get ill, on the ideological basis that the new bill is “big evil socialist government” is pathetic. I cannot believe insurance companies have been allowed to get away with their utterly immoral practices for so long.

    In fact, I watched Republican John McCain tell a room full of people live on Fox News that the British NHS refuses to treat patients over 75. The extent of this ridiculous lie was rendered even more ingenious given that on that very same day, my 83 year old grand mother was being treated on the NHS after having a heart attack. They saved her life. The irony of John McCain’s position is, most of my family, if we lived under the current US healthcare system, would not be able to afford healthcare, and the rich conservative and Republican anti-socialised medicine brigade would have no problem denying us care.

    To deny people the right to healthcare whilst you yourself can afford it, in my opinion, is no different to me blocking the road when an ambulance needs to get past. I’m fine and healthy. I paid taxes that went to fix that road. So fuck them!!! That’s the attitude. The “individualist” attitude plaguing the West. The Republican attitude. Today, it was defeated. My face is one of complete smugness today.

    McCain today argued that the bill promoted big government. I’d argue that is irrelevant. Our British NHS has survived for sixty years, and whilst it has it’s issues, it is better than the American system. Big government or small government is not the issue. It is the equivalent of approaching an uninsured suffering child and saying “We wont help you, because, erm, well, BIG GOVERNMENT!!!!” Perhaps an injection of big business to curb the excesses of big insurance and big business, is not such a bad thing. I fully support it.

    My only issue, is that the bill doesn’t go far enough. After eight years of Republican misery, the fact that anyone actually pays any attention to those lunatics amazes me. President Obama didn’t seem strong enough. He allowed Republicans to populate their lies and fear tactics; the same tactics they used for the war on terror. It has to stop. The Republicans are an international laughing stock. And yet, their usual cry of “SOCIALISM!!! HIGH TAXES!!! BIG GOVERNMENT!!! COMMMUUUUNIIISSSM!!!! NO STIMULUS!!!!!” against anything slightly left of Reagan, seems to generate sympathy in America. The rest of us look on in amazement. Today, that horrendous and selfish tactic lost.

    I look forward to watching the psychotic Glenn Beck tell everyone America is now Soviet Russia.


  • Support the strike

    March 21, 2010

    Teamstar, the US Union said it hadn’t ruled out banning it’s members from handling BA baggage, in a show of solidarity with the strikers. BA said that action by a secondary union was against US law. This amazes me. Why does a law like that exist? Why do companies have more rights than people? Why aren’t workers allowed to show solidarity against a corrupt regime? Afterall, Americans think it’s okay to own guns in the knowledge that they may need to overthrow a corrupt Government, so why are corrupt businesses given such protection? Why is there a bill of rights for the abstract concept of “company“? If that isn’t proof that the protection of the rights of those at the top is more important than the majority, i’m not sure what is.

    BA said it was sad to see overseas Unions support:

    “unjustified strikes against an iconic British brand”

    If all else fails, if incompetent and a bully style of management, and scandal after scandal is starting to make management look like the wolves in sheep’s clothing……….. appeal to Nationalism. It never fails in the realm of the idiots.

    The Tories, reminiscent of 1979 today announced they would fight the power of the Unions. Members of the Unite Union working for British Airways voted in favour of strike action, and are today on strike.

    Let’s get one thing straight from the start, BA is not at risk. The strikers, are not putting BA at risk. BA is the British market leader in international flights. It started to lose it’s top spot, before recession hit. The cabin crew on strike, were not responsible for that. Bad management, was responsible for that. The Tories who are now criticising Brown for being weak with the unions, are far weaker in their unwavering support for unbelievably incompetent management.

    The Union offered 60 million in cuts, with a 2 year pay freeze on it’s staff. The staff were ready to accept it. Walsh didn’t think it went far enough. To him, the only way this is over, is if the Union is totally broken, so he can bully as much as he damn well pleases. I hope he fails.

    There is something fundamentally wrong with a system that rewards incompetence and greed and punishes those who simply wish to protect their livelihood. Obviously i’m going to be incredibly bias, because just looking at BA Chief Exec. Willie Walsh’s smug face, on the left, makes me want to convert to fundamental Christianity and stone him to death.

    The Sun reading British public, owing to it’s great sense of idiocy and selfishness is largely against the strike action. Regardless of how poorly management of BA has been, and regardless of how many jobs are on the line, the public seem to hate the strikers, simply because it might put a few holidays at risk. The death of brotherhood, and the ongoing nightmare World of the narcissistic consumer.

    So why the anger at the striking cabin crew?

  • It wasn’t the Cabin crew who created the huge pension deficit. It was Willie Walsh’s management.
  • It wasn’t the Cabin crew who were fined £270,000,000 for price fixing. It was Willie Walsh’s management (this resulted in huge job losses, to pay for it.) He tried to manipulate costs. And yet, he wasn’t sacked.
  • It wasn’t the Cabin crew who fucked up over Terminal 5. It was Willie Walsh’s management.
  • It wasn’t the Cabin crew who ran the company so far into the ground, that 30,000 workers whose livelihoods depend on their wage packet, were asked to work for nothing. It was because of Willie Walsh’s management. The union actually called for better management, instead of workers working for free, surely that makes more sense?
  • The distrust of BA because of it’s dirty tricks economically, is not the Cabin crew’s fault. It was Willie Walsh’s management.
  • It wasn’t the Cabin crew who went to the Supreme Court to block industrial action. It was Willie Walsh.
    In short, the head of BA, Willie Walsh is a crook. An appalling manager. 13,500 people don’t just decide to strike because they want to ruin your holiday, or they want a bit of a break, or they’re “greedy”. They have a reason. And that reason, is still in charge of a company he damn near destroyed. The strikers don’t hate BA. The strikers want to save BA.

    Overpaid arrogant bankers and managers have screwed the entire system over, for the past thirty years. Lehman Brothers, and Goldman is testament to that. Walsh is just another one of the same breed of greedy bastards who have somehow convinced a generation that they are indispensable. They are not indispensable. They should be dispensed of as soon as possible. The Tories, quite clearly support ruthless Capitalism. Because whilst jobs and livelihoods at BA are threatened by management who bully their staff…….. BA stock price is at the highest it’s been in over six months. Which suggests that whilst staff are being threatened daily with cuts in the wages they rely on to survive, the shareholders, who quite clearly have a bit of money anyway given that they have shares in BA……… are making more money.

    If a President or Prime Minister were to run a Country as badly and with bullying tactics as Willie Walsh has ran BA, the public would be supremely outraged. When a company does it, the public don’t seem to care. The way of Capitalism. Greed and selfishness wins every time.

    What a wondrous system this is.

    David Cameron said:

    “The BA strike threatens the future of one of Britain’s greatest companies along with thousands of jobs. But will the Prime Minister come out in support of the people who cross the picket line? No – because the Unite union is bankrolling the Labour Party”

    Firstly, why are the strikers threatening BA? I don’t think they are. Why hasn’t Cameron mentioned the bad management, the scandals, the threats, the bullying? This leads me on to my second point…
    Cameron will never mention poor management and a need to curve excessive and rather fascist business tactics, because big business donated almost £5.9million to the Conservative Party last year. Big business is the Conservative Party. Anything that slightly threatens big business, is going to be called socialist, destructive, terrible for Britain.

    What Cameron means is, those like Willie Walsh should be allowed to bully their staff all they want and there should be nothing anyone can do about it.
    Let’s not forget that it is thanks to a brotherhood of workers, that those of us who complain about unions, have a minimum wage to fall back on, and a universal healthcare system to look after us when we’re ill, and better working conditions in so much as we’re not choking on deadly gases in our workplaces, or our kids being sent down mines.

    Kenneth Clarke suggested that we’re heading back to the 1970s and allowing the Unions to take over England. So, the polar opposite of the Unions taking control, is big business. As an example, i’ll use Lloyds Group.

    Lloyds today announced it has made profits of £3.5bn. They seem over joyed. The reason they were overjoyed is because recently, the took over HBOS, which had a plethora of toxic debts, which were then transfered to Lloyds, who miscalculated the risk. Lloyds shareholders decided to take over HBOS. The workers didn’t have any say, obviously, because that would be EVIL SOCIALISM!!!! So thankfully, those wondrous Capitalists were on hand to save the day………….. by having to appeal to Socialism to bail it out. The Government then took 43% of Lloyds over. The wondrous Capitalists who were going to save the day from EVIL SOCIALISM!!!! then announced they were taking on Andy Hornby as a consultant on £60,000 a month; the very same Andy Hornby who was at the top of HBOS and drove it into the ground. So whilst Lloyds needed desperately a government bail out because they’d made a huge mistake buying HBOS, they could still afford to pay an incompetent lunatic £60,000 as a consultant. A man who drove his bank into the ground, was now earning £60,000 advising another Bank how to run it’s business. But wait, those wondrous Capitalists weren’t finished saving the day yet. After making mistake after mistake, they then cut 15000 jobs. Lloyds, the largest employer in Aylesbury had effectively shut down the town by cutting 300+ jobs, because of supremely incompetent management. At what point does the Chancellor, who represents our 43% share in the business, step in and tell the management that we don’t want our money back as a Country, if it means 15000 lose their jobs. We’re not a Tory country. We don’t believe that sort of thing is perfectly acceptable.
    And these are the people who should be running the show as opposed to Unions?

    For those of you who believe the Unions have too much power, and deplore the BA strike…….. you are simply fighting in favour of protecting a system that allows mindless management thugs to control the lives of the very people who fund their luxurious lifestyles.
    BUT AS LONG AS YOUR HOLIDAY ISN’T AFFECTED!
    The idea that they should be happy to even have a job, amazes me, and doesn’t even warrant a response.

    I fully support Unions, in all their attempts to advance workers rights and curve the oppression of selfish incompetent fatcats.


  • Why i’m not an atheist

    March 19, 2010

    I find myself constantly torn between theism and atheism for two reasons. Firstly, I do not believe in a God of organised religion. Organised religion, for me, is both unnatural (in that, it’s a man made creation) and designed purely as a method of control and to legitimise prejudice and hatred. I even doubt the existence of Jesus himself. The only evidence we have for the existence of Jeus, comes from gospels written some forty years after his supposed death, many of which have been removed from history because certain Roman Emperors didn’t like their content, or early Christians considered them a little bit too far fetched. In short, I believe organised religion to be the realm of the ignorant, teaching dogmatic acquiescence.

    However, dismissing organised religion does not necessarily mean dismissing theism on the whole. The argument for creation from cosmological point of view, is rather compelling, and cannot simply be explained away by saying “I don’t believe in a God“. This is where I think people like Professor Dawkins fall down.

    Einstein’s general theory of relativity states that time, matter and space all came into existence at the exact same moment of creation. This in essence means that before the big bang, there was no time, no space, and no matter. Nothing. This theory is backed up by the dismissal of the steady state theory, which deemed that the universe was eternal, but was overtaken by the cosmic microwave background radiation theory by Nobel prize winners Arno Penzias and Robert Wilson, proving the universe is expanding, which further proves that the universe, had a beginning. Matter, space and time sprang into existence at a single moment. Stephan Hawking himself stated that the discovery of cosmic radiation left over from the big bang was “the final nail in the coffin of the steady-state theory.” From observation we can then conclude that the universe had a beginning.

    If there was nothing before the big bang, then it stands to reason that logic, nature, and reason itself also sprang into existence at the point of the big bang. The creation of something from nothing is rather illogical to human understanding. It may just be that humanity has not the capacity to comprehend such a notion, which renders any argument to the contrary depressingly futile. And so, we must conclude that something had to have kicked started everything. That “something” must have existed before existence itself had began. One cannot create something which has already started to exist. It had to have existed outside of the realm of time and space and matter, because time and space and matter had not yet been created. If it existed outside of time and space and matter, then it cannot possibly be affected by the trials of those three. It cannot decay. It cannot die. It cannot be bruised or hurt. It cannot have been created itself, because creation hasn’t yet been created, so to speak. It is above logic, and above reason, and above natural law. It is unrestricted by all the restrictions that the universe is under. Think of it like this; you make a snow globe. You put a house in the snow globe. You created the snow globe. Therefore, you cannot possibly be inside the snow globe, you aren’t restricted by the laws of the snow globe. You know that existence is not restricted to the snow globe, unlike whatever else exists in the snow globe. You cannot suddenly de-enlighten yourself and become ignorant to the “outisde World“. You can exist without the need for the snow globe. Similarly, whatever can be called the creator, exists outside of the laws of the universe, because it created the laws of the universe.
    You cannot explain the natural universe, without concluding that the supernatural had a hand in it’s creation.

    Secondly, the teleological argument is stunningly mind blowing at times. The argument from intelligent design. Professor Stephan Hawking states:

    “if the expansion rate of the universe changed by 1 part in one hundred thousand million million a second after the big bang, we wouldn’t be here.”

    Hawking goes on to say:

    “The laws of science, as we know them at present, contain many fundamental numbers, like the size of the electric charge of the electron and the ratio of the masses of the proton and the electron. … The remarkable fact is that the values of these numbers seem to have been very finely adjusted to make possible the development of life.”

    The universe, in other words, was pretty precise in it’s less than chaotic beginnings.
    At the moment of creation, natural law came into existence. The expansion rate of the universe, the strength of gravity, electromagnetic forces, among other natural constants are so beautifully fine tuned, that had the rate of any of those constants been 1/10000000000000th different, life could not possibly exist anywhere in the universe. The mass of a proton in comparison to an electron, is so finely tuned, if it were off by .0000001, the creation of molecular DNA would not have been possible. Gravity itself, was the perfect strength. If it were even slightly off, planets and galaxies would not have formed. Gravity brought matter together, to form rocks and planets and moons and stars. If it were all by random, it is the equivilant of me asking you to pick a single grain of sand that I myself had picked, and hidden on a beach somewhere in the World, but the catch is, there are now 100000 Worlds to search, not just one and you have to pick the exact same grain of sand that I picked. The odds are pretty much stacked against you. The history of the universe is a history of unlikely event after unlikely event, that to the best of my ability, I cannot simply just dismiss as random.

    And so, that is why I am not an Atheist.


    Islam and Christianity

    March 17, 2010

    I have wanted to write this blog for a while, but didn’t particularly know how to start it. A lot of this writing comes from the knowledge I gained reading Henry Chadwick, Karen Armstrong, and Voltaire. But I still didn’t have a beginning. Today provided me with that beginning.

    Today is St Patrick’s day. As I was wandering through Leicester city centre, through swarms of happy people with tall green hats and pints of Guinness, I happened across an Irish pub. Outside the pub were six or seven people dancing to Irish music. Pleasingly, dancing side by side, arm in arm, were two men; An old grey haired Irish man with a huge smile across his face as he swayed, dancing quite comically with a young Muslim man also with a huge smile across his bearded (a bit of a failed attempt at beard growth actually) face whilst his friend filmed the entire scenario on his mobile phone. I was struck by the apparent lack of culture barrier between the two. They were just two men, enjoying themselves.

    Meanwhile, in Sheffield, the “English Defence League” plan a march, against Islam. I wondered if this seemingly polarised contrast of values has always existed between the west and Islam? I’d argue that it has. I’d argue that the irrational fear that the contemporary western World seems to have of anything Islamic has been a linear progression since around 900ad.

    During the 10th Century, in Al Andalus (Muslim controlled Spain), Islam was becoming amazingly ahead of it’s time. Cordova especially. Under Muslim control, Christians, Jews and Muslims were allowed to live side by side in peace, as long as respect was shown for each other. The Christians and Muslims shared poetry, literature, and philosophy. It was a golden age for the history of Spain. Typical Christian States at this time, were not allowing such integration to exist, because Jews and Muslims were considered heretics, who should be killed rather than accepted.

    A Spanish Christian outside of Cordova, whom would undoubtedly be a member of the EDL today, once spoke out against this arrangement, arguing that Cordovan Christians had become corrupted by Islam. Paul Alvaro stated:

    The Christians love to read the poems and the romances of the Arabs. Not to refute them, but to form an elegant Arabic. Alas! All young Christians read and study with enthusiasm the Arab books”

    This was an attack on the Christians of Cordova. Christian layman reacted viciously, and started to burn Islamic books and writings in the centre of Cordova. One man in particular, named Perfectus, began to denounce Muhammad publicly. As this began, the Muslim supreme judge known as the Qadi did not pass the death sentence (to insult Christianity, in Christian lands, would have almost certainly resulted in a rather nasty death penalty) because he considered the Christian to have been provoked by both the writings of people like Alvaro, and angry Muslims, so he released Perfectus. But, Perfectus continued attacking the name of Mohammad. And so, without any other option, given the social and historical context of the time, Perfectus was executed by the order of the Qadi under the control of Abd ar-Rahman II. This martyrdom started a fresh wave of anti-Islamic sentiment. Known as the “Cordova Martyrs“, they began to publicly condemn Muslims for being heretics, and did not cease until they were executed. The Muslim court was reluctant to execute people for two reasons. Firstly, they believed it to be wrong to execute people for believing something different. Heresy did not exist for Islam. Disrespect for the Prophet did exist. But heresy, was not a concept Islam understood. Islam expanded at a time of religious plurality in the near East, and so they were used to different beliefs, and did not execute people on that basis. Secondly, they did not want to create a cult surrounding these martyrs. The martyrs were quickly being recognised as soldiers of Christianity. Islam did not provoke nor want a religious war. Christian bishops in Cordova, did not want a religious war. In fact, many Christian bishops and scholars denounced the martyrs as simply out to cause trouble where it was not needed. Slowly, successive Popes started to ban anything slightly Islamic. Koran’s were banned. As was recitation from memory of verses. In contrast, Islamic nations allowed Christian bibles, and Christian debates and discussions, even propaganda from Christians, providing it did not insult Muhammad. Islam, was generations ahead of Christianity both morally and spiritually.

    We can then follow that insecurity, and irrational attacking of Islam or anything that was slightly different, almost directly to Pope Urban II and his attacks on Jerusalem. Perhaps this wasn’t necessarily an all out attack against Islam, but more Papal imperialism. Spreading the power of the West. Using Muhammad and the “heretics” as a predicate for war. As if Urban II was protecting Christianity rather than extending his own power, dominance and wealth. The Jews across the Rhine Valley were victims of Pope Urban attempting to kill off any non-Christians across the known World. Islam and Judaism have a lot more in common then they have differences.

    For the next couple of centuries, false legends were propogated across Europe surrounding Islam and their Prophet. He was the anti-christ, a child molester (which is rich, coming from Catholicism), out to destroy Christianity, Satan himself.

    As the reformation swept through Europe in the 15th and 16th Centuries, it became apparent that Christian ignorance would not go away. Catholics attacked Islam by linking it to Protestantism. They were a breakaway sect of Christianity that denied the Pope’s authority. Similarly, Protestants began attacking Islam by linking it to Catholicism. They worshiped false idols and didn’t believe in faith alone. Even Luther, the hero of the reformation wrote how he considered Europe at risk from being engulfed by Islam; and so the continued irrational fear spread miserably for another century. By 16th Century, the modern historian Norman Daniel points out that Islam was now used as a dirty word. The illiterate European population had no idea what Islam was; had never read the Koran; had never even spoken to a Muslim, but they had all decided through relentless Catholic and Protestant propaganda that Islam was never to be tolerated, purely because Islam held that Jesus was not the chosen Prophet of God.

    In fact, it was not until Voltaire wrote his account of Muhammad, as being a great philosopher and Islam as being far more progressive than Christianity, that anything positive from the West was being written about Islam. Francois Rene de Chateaubriand, the French imperialist writer stated that:

    Christianity is the most favourable to freedom.”

    And that Islamic nations were:

    A Family without a father

    The Western imperialist powers, were apparently that “father“.
    And then rose the British Empire.
    The “us VS them” mentality continued. The Empire marched into Muslim lands and proclaimed that those who lived their, were barbarians who needed the British Empire to improve their lives. Algiers, Aden, Egypt, Tunisia, Morocco, Libya; all came under imperialist power, and we were horrendously evil in our dealings with our new colonies.

    The writer Boaudricourt of France at the time, wrote what he had known of the British and French expeditions to Africa and our treatment of Islam:

    “About 18,000 trees had been burnt; Women, children and old men had been killed. The unfortunate women particularly excited cupidity by wearing silver ear rings, leg rings, and arm rings. These rings have no catch like French bracelets. To get them off, our soldiers used to cut off their limbs and leave them alive in a mutilated condition”

    And we had the nerve to refer to Islam as barbaric?

    The fear and violence continues right up until today. George Bush in 2004, run his re-election campaigned claiming to have been sent by God, and that America shouldn’t change commander-in-chief during a war. Christian and Western arrogance propagating fear all over again.
    After 9/11, Muslims were viewed with unprecedented fear. As if they were all terrorists who simply “hated our freedom”. The same propaganda that was being used 1000 years ago, was being used again. Screening young muslim men at airports, always telling us that our terrorist threat level was at critical. And yet, the majority of terrorist attacks on U.S soil over the past twenty-years, has been by Christian fanatics. Burnt and bombed abortion clinics, the KKK, the murders of abortion doctors, the Olympic bombing in 1996; all Christian extremists. Why aren’t Christians given the same, if not more level of suspicion given their rather disgraceful past?

    It was inevitably that eventually a generation of disenfranchised Islamic lunatics with delusions of hatred and an irrational bloodlust for Americans and the West was going to arise. When one mad man kills a few people, that’s a psychological issue. When a hundreds of men become radicalised, there are underlying issues that need to be addressed. You cannot simply blame Islam for “hating our freedom”. It simply isn’t true. It’s an ignorant, racist concoction used to feed our arrogance because the West, and Christianity, has always had this delusional sense of superiority.

    Not today. Today, the Irish man and the Muslim man proved that multiculturalism and tolerance work. The linear progression from the Cordova Martyrs, to the English Defence League and the War on Terror, has not prevailed. It is clear that the anti-Islamic prejudice is slowly dying out, on a scale never before seen. This is a fantastic thing.